Take Your Best Shot

Any student who has taken a biology class, or is currently enrolled in one, is encouraged to submit a photo for the Robert Savage Biological Image of the Year Award. Explore this year's submissions in the gallery above.

This year, students majoring in economics, engineering, gender & sexuality studies, philosophy, psychology, and religion, in addition to biology, submitted images of scenes from their research, field trips, and journeys around the world. Each year, winners are announced at the department's picnic in May and receive $50 and a large print for themselves. Their art is also framed to hang in Martin Hall.

The images were judged based on their artistic and scientific merit by Professor Randy Exon of the Art Department and Temple University Professor of Microbiology and Immunology (and painter) Bennett Lorber, '64.

Initiated four years ago by the Biology Department, the award honors the College's first professor of cell biology who, when he retired in 1995, was described as the "father of modern biology" on campus. Savage continues his involvement with the department as a judge of the contest, which he once described as "a splendid idea," though admits it is not easy to choose winners.

  • First Place (TIE)

    Erin Kast '15
    religion major
    Wausau, Wis., and
    Raul Anchiraico '14
    biology major
    Sugar Land, Tex.
    alt An octocoral of the genus Leptigorgia An octocoral of the genus Leptigorgia. Octocorals – commonly referred to as “sea whips” or “sea fans” for their delicate and elaborate branching structure – are an abundant form of colonial cnidarian. Two features are worth noting: first are the beautiful crystals that coat the surface of the central axial rod – these calcareous structures are called spicules and provide protection for the soft tissue of the coral within. Second is the deep brown pigmentation of the emerging coral polyps – the coloring comes not from pigment cells but from millions of zooxanthellae, a type of algae, living symbiotically in the coral. The image was captured using an extended depth of field microscope.

  • First Place (TIE)

    Zhengyang Wang '14
    biology and philosophy major
    Chengdu, China

    Crane flies Crane flies belong to the order of Diptera. Common members of Diptera include mosquitos and flies. This crane fly is found hanging out on the wall of my dorm. Its back-wing, as showed in the picture, has degenerated into a pair of lobes. If you ever see one of these crane flies, don’t panic and misled them as huge mosquitos. They don’t bite and mostly feed on nectars. The picture could also be used to train your ten-year-old nature-loving cousin, just ask him to figure out what is not right with this picture. (Hint, insects belong to the superclass Hexpoda.)

  • Second Place

    Patrick Ammerman '14
    biology major
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Scallops (family Pectinidae) have the most acute visual sensory organs of any bivalves. Scallops (family Pectinidae) have the most acute visual sensory organs of any bivalves. An individual scallop will usually have an array of 40-60 eyes along its mantel cavity, with some species possessing over 100! These eyes are capable of detecting the approach of predators, such as sea stars, sharks, and other fishes. They may also be used by swimming scallops to pick out favorable substrates to come to rest upon. This scallop was viewed live under a light microscope at 16x magnification. Image taken using an 8x digital camera.

  • Third Place

    Justin Sui '15
    biology major
    Yardley, Pa.

    Anthozoan This image depicts the Anthozoan, Aiptasiomorpha sp., in its retracted state after experiencing physical stimuli. It caves its tentacles into the gastrovascular cavity in order to minimize the amount of volume exposed to potential predators. The sea anemone was ~2 cm from the base to tip of the mouth (in its ‘extended’ state). The picture was taken through the lens of a dissecting scope.